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A Season of Gratefulness

November 28, 2021

Originally for Another Way for week of November 5, 2021

Make this a Season of Gratefulness

We are in a season where our hearts are primed to turn toward gratitude. Or at least I hope that is the case. There’s Thanksgiving of course, there’s Veteran’s Day, and I must say, there’s gratitude that localized campaigning for governor, state delegates, town councils, school board (or whatever your local elections were this year) are, hallelujah, over! I don’t mind the actual voting so much as the incessant ads on TV and the direct mail cards that filled our wastebasket to overflowing this year. I bet we received nearly 100 in these past months. If the TV ads were more straight up facts than demonizing the other candidate, I could tolerate the campaigning better. Anyone else?

Grandson picking up apples a couple years ago.

Sigh. Now I can get to the gratitude. In these next weeks, I plan to focus these columns on the positive, the uplifting, the feel-good stories and happenings that are all around us if you look.

A beloved university football coach went to our church. In his later years, he kept a little notebook so he could remember details like meetings and appointments or prayer requests at church. He was the essence of punctuality, neatness, and encouragement for others. He knew my husband was having knee replacement surgery last year and asked me for the exact day and time so he could pray for Stuart. I was so touched, and then shockingly, the coach did not wake up the next Sunday morning. At age 77, Coach was still “young.” Stuart’s surgery was two days later. The coaches’ memorial service was planned for the day Stuart got out of the hospital. My husband insisted we go to the service on our way home, walker and all. As we greeted the family, his daughter told me that Stuart had been on her dad’s prayer list that week. Touched and grateful? You bet. I want to do better to be more aware of the needs of others and put them first, rather than my own needs.

Far left is “Coach,” not too long before he died in his sleep. Challace McMillin was congratulating Jim Atwood who had written another book about gun violence in the U.S. Atwood also died last year.

My oldest sister has had to put the needs of my mother ahead of her own these last several years. We siblings will be forever grateful. Who knew that a few choices about colleges or careers or romances would leave our family—like millions the world over—scattered instead of living in the same community? So, Mom was lucky to have her personal registered nurse (now retired) always on call. Mom was a saint (and now a literal saint), but she could also be very picky about brands and the medications she took, so I don’t know how many times Nancy selflessly drove to store after store especially the last two years when “supply chain” issues affected so many medications. Nancy also personally nursed Mom back to health from various deep wounds on her legs and arms when her skin got thinner than the papery skins of onions. Not to mention the tendency to fall. We tried to help from a distance—sending gas money every so often. If your family lives in closer proximity, or if you have a sibling who lives near one or both of your parents, that is definitely something to be eternally grateful for this season.

Family helping mother go to her favorite restaurant for Mother’s Day this past May. My oldest sister Nancy is in the back in blue.

Also, I have a spouse who puts up with my idiosyncrasies and has been a loving and faithful husband all these 45 years. He has driven us 1200 miles round trip six times this year in an attempt to help me spend time with mother, and also help out my sisters who have had primary responsibilities. He also drives me up the wall sometimes, but hey, I know I do him too. I am happily grateful to have him for my husband, and for our children (and their spouses) and the glorious gift of grandchildren.

One more quick story. We decided to order some carry out pizza at Costco and while I was waiting, a longtime cashier at the store (whom I had a tendency to be judgemental about wearing tight, very low cut tops and lots of make up) took time to do a job she didn’t have to do: help a young girl of about 11 figure out where to stand to get served by the staff behind the snack counter. I had seen the girl looking bewildered and confused, but didn’t think to step in to help. I was thankful to observe this sweet act of kindness on the part of the busy cashier who was stacking some of their eternal boxes.

We can all use more kindness and gratitude in our world, nation, communities and families. And less judging! Here’s to a nice long season celebrating gratitude, and not for just a couple of yummy meals.

***

Comment here, or send your stories, comments, or questions to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication. 

2 Comments
  1. Your reminiscences here are so relatable. Like you, we have a family with saints, some more saintly than others. Blessings especially to the memorable coach, you older sister, and to your husband. When we married 54 years ago, my own husband moved to the East coast rather than the Pacific NW he grew up in so we could be close to my family. Sometimes he too drives me up the wall, but I think about what it’s like to live with me, and then I relent. and sometimes repent. HA HA!

    We are blessed! And I have learned the more we count our blessings the more blessings we have to count. Thanks, Melodie! 😀

    • I see you are trying to do post-Thanksgiving catch up! I don’t think I knew that Cliff moved across the country so YOU could be close-ish to your family. Very sweet. Many times we “talked” of moving to Goshen for a season, but the seasons were never right–like just when the economy was recovering and jobs looked plentiful in Indiana, etc., came an economic crash etc.

      You have taught me much about counting blessings and tracking gratitude.

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